February 26th, 2016
Image Source: allevents
The second edition of the Urur Olcott Kuppam Vizha is being held on 27-28 February, 2016, in front of the Ellaiamman Temple in the Urur Olcott Kuppam fishing village. The estimated budget of Rs. 400,000 was raised within one month through crowd-funding solely from individuals. Besides featuring renowned artists like Sheejith Krishna (Bharatanatyam), Raghu Dixit (Indie Folk) and Sean Roldan, the festival will also honour the youth of Chennai and conservancy workers for their role in rescue and relief during the floods, and restoring the city to normalcy in the days after.
The Vizha intends to highlight Urur Olcott Kuppam, a centuries old fishing village whose identity has been crowded out by the more recent Besant Nagar. “There are many unjustified negative stereotypes associated with fishing kuppams. The Vizha is a joyous invitation to all people of Chennai to come and enjoy our hospitality in our village, and an opportunity for them to learn about how fishing villages have contributed to the heritage of the city,” said K. Saravanan, an office bearer in the Urur Kuppam Fisher Welfare Cooperative Society and one of the organisers of the event.
The Urur Olcott Kuppam Vizha is a response to the vitiated social conditions and to the isolation of arts, artists and audiences into ghettoes of caste and class. The Vizha is an effort to liberate the three and use arts to heal social tensions and serve as a bridge across cultures, communities and genres. The Kuppam Vizha also highlights the centrality of the fishing village to Chennai’s identity and invites people to reimagine the city as a safe, clean and inclusive space.
In the lead-up to the main festival, three mini-fests have been held, including a performance by TM Krishna on Besant Nagar beach, and Carnatic recital by Gayathri Venkatraghavan at Ayodhya Mandapam in West Mambalam. West Mambalam, which was badly affected in the floods, has a large concentration of Carnatic musicians. As a special gesture, in West Mambalam, the festival began with a ceremony to honour Chennai’s fisherfolk for their role in flood rescue efforts. Twenty fisherfolk nominated as representatives of villages in Thiruvallur, Chennai and Kanchipuram received the honours from the temple administration.